How to Change a Refrigerator Filter

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Spring Maintenance: Change Your Refrigerator Filter:

Most modern refrigerators offer options for ice or water (or both) in the door or at least an ice maker in the freezer.   And to ensure you have the best tasting ice and water possible, there is a filter built right into the refrigerator.  These filters need to be changed from time to time.  In many cases, there is an indicator light to tell you it’s time to change it.

Refrigerator Filter Indicator Light

Indicator light turns red when it’s time to change the filter.

Most manufacturers suggest replacement every 6 months, so just add it to your spring and fall maintenance lists. If you go too long without changing the filter, you may notice a decreased flow of water.  Most likely, this is because the old filter is clogged and the problem will solve itself with a new filter.

Selecting the Proper Filter:

After you’ve determined it’s time to change it, now you need to select the correct filter.   There are several types of filters, but here are the most common:

  • Filter designed to go inside the refrigerator
  • Filter in the bottom grill of the refrigerator with an eject button
  • Filter in the bottom grill of the refrigerator without an eject button (1/4 turn filter)
Refrigerator Quarter Turn Filter

Quarter Turn Filter in the Bottom Grill of a Refrigerator

For the sake of this article, we’ll be changing the latter.   Once you’ve determined what type of filter you have, the best thing to do turn the ice maker off first, and then take the old one out, and take it with you when you shop for a replacement, or keep the part number written down to order a new one online.   Or if you use the “My Lowe’s “ program, they’ll keep up with the part number for you.

How to Remove the Old Filter:

Step 1: Locate the switch for the ice maker and turn it to off.

Refrigerator Filter

Make sure the Ice Maker On / Off switch is in the Off position.

Step 2: Turn the knob (which is also the cap that will be re-used on the new filter) a quarter turn counterclockwise.

Refrigerator Filter

Turn the Knob a Quarter Turn Counterclockwise.

Tip: It’s hard to get leverage on this knob since it’s so close to the floor.  Use locking pliers to give you leverage.

Refrigerator Filter

Use a towel to avoid damaging the knob.

Step 3: Slide the knob (end cap) off of the old filter.

Refrigerator Filter

Slide the cap off of the old filter and put it aside to put on the new filter.


How to Put the New Filter In:

Step One: Remove the red protective cover from the end of the filter before putting it back in the slot in the grill.

Refrigerator Filter

Remove and discard the red protective cap.

Then reverse the order of removal to put the new filter in place.

  1. Slide the cover on the end of the new filter
  2. Slide it back into the opening in the grill
  3. Turn the knob one quarter turn clockwise

Finishing the Job:

Follow the instructions to reset the indicator light.

Refrigerator Filter

Refrigerator Filter Reset Button with Instructions

Run water through until it’s clear.

Refrigerator Filter

Be patient. You may have to run a couple of gallons through before it runs clear.

Turn the ice maker back on, and check this project off of the list!

Tip: I generally also throw out the first batch of ice, just to make sure all of the gunk has worked its way out.

This is a very simple project and it takes very little effort.  It’s just a matter of putting it on your spring and fall maintenance lists so that you remember to do it.

There are various makes and models of filters on

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Beth Knott

Managing Editor at Tool Skool
Beth is the Managing Editor of Tool Skool, as well as a contributing reviewer. She has a long history with tools: as co-Producer of DIY Tools & Techniques, she oversaw the production of more than 200 episodes. An avid DIYer, she puts her tool collection to good use.

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